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Rickenbacker 4003 Bridge Pickup Low Output?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by d00dr, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. d00dr

    d00dr Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2011
    Jamestown, NY
    Hey guys. Just another newbie with a silly question here. So, I recently purchased a 2008 Rickenbacker 4003 and I've been having a difficult time with the output of my bridge pickup. When I adjust the height to where its at the same level (volume-wise) as the neck pickup, the signal is way too hot and clips every time I pluck a string. But when I adjust it to a level where it doesn't clip, its almost not even audible when singled out. I'm not sure if I just need to keep adjusting it until I reach that point just before it clips, or if maybe the pickup is shot and needs to he replaced, or maybe there are some bad solder joints. The signal never cuts out though, ever. I'm new to Ricks and passive basses in general I guess. I've been playing my Warwick Thumb Bass for 10 years now so its a bit of a change for me going from active to passive electronics... any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  2. Augment


    Apr 19, 2011
    I'd suggest taking it to a decent tech if you have one & can spare the cash and time away from it.

    The bridge pickups are generally a little hotter than the neck ones I believe. When I got my 2010 4003, I actually lowered the bridge pup a bit since at equal height it was a tad too hot.
  3. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    get the bridge pickup so it's not distorting and then adjust the height of the neck pickup.
    kcole4001 likes this.
  4. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    When you say it's clipping, exactly at what point in the signal chain is the clipping happening ? It can't be happening in the pickup itself and it's highly unlikely the pickup has a problem.

    If you're using pedals, you may need to make a change to your gain structure, but that sounds weird if you were using active basses before which generally have higher output. Have you changed volume settings on anything between the bass and the amp since switching to this bass ?
  5. d00dr

    d00dr Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2011
    Jamestown, NY
    Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback. I'll just do some experimenting with height levels until I find a nice balance and see what happens.

    As far as volume changes, the only thing I've changed is engaging the gain boost switch on my amp when using the Rick. I never have it engaged when using my Warwick as it has extremely hot active electronics. I don't use any pedals either...
  6. steddy2112


    Aug 19, 2007
    Newark, DE
    Eh, if it's the stock MEC's in the Wick...they're not the hottest actives.

    Some passives can be hotter than actives too. My hottest bass is my Ibanez CT with EMG's with the P from hell(it's like on the higher end of 14k xD) but my 4003 isn't too far behind.

    I take it you're playing over the bridge pickup? You could try changing where you're attacking the strings/anchoring.
  7. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    ^THIS^ the key is balancing the two pups, so get the bridge where you want it, then adjust the neck pup to match.
    kcole4001 likes this.
  8. d00dr

    d00dr Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2011
    Jamestown, NY
    It doesn't really make a difference white I'm playing on the bass, I still have the same outcome. I think I'm just going to mess around with my pickup heights and see where it takes me.
    Thank everybody! You've made me feel not-so-crazy but I also feel a little dumb for asking a silly question with such a simple answer.
    I'll let you know how it goes....
    bobpond likes this.
  9. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    On a couple devices I've actually had to engage the gain pad (meant primarily for active basses) with a Rickenbacker bridge pickup. They're really high output, even though they're passive.

    Try NOT engaging the gain boost switch.
  10. Quickie


    May 6, 2011
    There's a guy named Ric5 I believe. He does mods and knows a butt load about Rics. I'm sure he will be along to give you some advice. Good luck with it in the meantime.
  11. rgOO6


    Apr 27, 2014
    Villa Rica, Georgia
    I just purchased a Rick brand new. Well, technically it was made in 2014... so the finish warranty is gone before I bought it.... but thats another story. Anyway, I am having the same issue. My Neck pickup is ridiculously louder than my bridge pickup. When I flip the pickup selector from my neck pickup to my bridge pickup, I have to adjust my master volume by about 1/8 turn to get the same volume level. I have also noticed that with the pickup selector in the middle, I can turn my bass pickup down on the bass by about 1/5 of a turn and the volume gets louder, not quieter. after that the levels react normally (except the bridge pickup is quieter). Also, my bass was purchased new from Sam Ash and the neck has been setup with a slight bow. I read through some forums and this seems to be a bad setup. Everything I have read says 4003 basses should be set up with a totally straight neck. Did Sam Ash get my initially bass setup that wrong?
  12. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I think you'll get more responses posting on the Rickenbacker Club thread. This is apparently a very common problem on Ric basses. The Rickresource forum is an excellent source of tech info, as long as you obey the unwritten rule of "No Ric criticism Allowed" . This exact issue has been flogged to death on RRF.
  13. rgOO6


    Apr 27, 2014
    Villa Rica, Georgia
  14. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    If your pickup poles have hex-key slots , they are adjustable as well, though that's really only useful for evening out string to string volumes. If the bridge pup is already maxed out in height, you can get a little more by raising the pickup poles. Good luck with it.
  15. rgOO6


    Apr 27, 2014
    Villa Rica, Georgia
    Hey guys. Thanks for the responses. Here is what I have done so far.

    Truss rid adjustment to get the neck straight.
    Adjusted the bridge height down a bit.
    Adjusted bridge pickup down.
    Adjusted neck pickup to max height.
    Adjusted neck pickup poles up till the sound distorted, then back down to stop the distortion.

    All of this has made the volume levels closer (between neck and bridge pickups). However there is still a noticeable difference. Probably will end up taking it back to Sam Ash and getting them to check it.
  16. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    I replaced the screws & springs on the bridge pickup to be able to lower it a little more and was able to match the output with the neck pickup. easy and inexpensive fix.
  17. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    Huh.... usually it's the other way around (usually the bridge pickup is considerably louder than the neck pickup).

    Adjust the neck pickup down and bridge pickup up.

    As for the turning down while on both pickups and actually getting louder... that's completely normal. Happens to some extent on Jazz Basses, too. It's caused by some frequencies being canceled out a bit with both pickups on full, and so when you turn one pickup down, this happens less.
  18. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    'cepting some basses and players like to do it the other way. I'm a neck pickup first guy, mostly fingerstyle and pick, can't slap worth a.... :D
  19. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 27, 2012
    You've probably already considered this, but just in case: There is a push-pull pot on the treble pickup tone control. Pulling it out gives you the "vintage tone" by engaging a .0047 microfarad capacitor, and it makes the treble pickup sound weaker; pushing it back down (in) bypasses the cap giving the treble pickup more balls. It could be you've been fighting against this all this time. Just sayin'.
    Sartori likes this.
  20. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    I similarly never play slap style, but I'm a bridge pickup guy. I only use the neck pickup for quiet parts of songs.